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Tight deadline to check cladding after tower fire

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Councils and housing associations have been given 24 hours to identify if a particular type of cladding has been used in the construction or refurbishment of any of their housing stock.

Melanie Dawes, permanent secretary at the Department for Communities & Local Government, wrote to chief executives by email yesterday, giving them until the end of today to complete the work.

Councils are being asked if cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) has been used in any of their buildings following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

If ACM panels have been used “local authorities and registered providers of social housing should begin taking steps to establish that they are of limited combustibility”, a technical note attached to Ms Dawes’ letter said, while samples should be submitted for testing. This will be funded by the government.

Panels on buildings with a floor 18 metres above ground level will need to be checked they are “of a type that complies with the Building Regulations guidance i.e. the core material should be a material of limited combustibility or Class A22,” the technical note said.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement this afternoon there was “significant anxiety amongst residents about whether their own blocks are safe”.

“While the exact reasons for the speed of the spread of fire have yet to be determined, we have concluded that there are additional tests that can be undertaken with regard to the cladding,” he said.

Any landlord who is concerned can contact the department at housingchecks@communities.gsi.gov.uk for further advice about cladding materials.

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